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Help, I Need Somebody

by: BuffyAngel68 (Send Feedback)

Series: - No Series - #1
Chapters: 041 Word Count: 76064
Rating: MATURE
Warning(s): Disturbing Imagery or Content, Other (See Author's Note)
Character(s): Jethro Gibbs, Tony DiNozzo, Abby Sciuto, Timothy McGee, Ensemble
Category(ies): Alternate Universe, Angst/Drama, Episode Related, Friendship, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Pairing(s): Gibbs/DiNozzo, Abby/McGee
Episode(s): 3-12 Boxed In
Summary: My version of where Tony might have ended up after the crappy treatment he received in Boxed In. This is a bit dark, but I have to go with the muse and this is what she provided. The thought woke me up crying, as a matter of fact. Triple Kleenex warning...

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17

Help, I Need Somebody 17/?

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DUCKY'S HOME: THAT NIGHT

"I'm worried about you, Don. You look so tired lately."

Ducky sighed, closed his eyes and settled deeper into the arms of his lover, silently thinking that there had to be a more descriptive, more accurate word than tired. Over the past few days he'd begun to feel his energy level drop and drop until here, locked safely in Gerald's comforting embrace, the master coroner felt as if every moment of his many years was lying heavily on his chest.

"I'm sorry, my love. So much is going on... I'm simply feeling a bit overwhelmed, I suppose."

"Don't apologize, just talk to me."

"I've tried. I trust you with everything I feel and all I am, you know that."

"But I've never had children."

Ducky instantly reacted to the almost undetectable trace of hurt in Gerald's voice.

"Now I didn't mean..."

"I know you didn't. My turn to say I'm sorry. I'm soaking up your emotions again..."

"I treasure your deep empathy, Gerald. It's one of my favorite things about you, I've told you that a thousand times..."

"Yeah, well it isn't helping much right now, is it?"

"Just being close to you is a great help. Knowing I have somewhere warm and safe to escape to is enough."

"Usually."

"Always. The situation with Anthony is just so frustrating. His doctor is excellent and I believe he's doing all he possibly can to help the poor boy heal... but I feel as if there has to be more I can do. When I looked at him through that door, just for a moment..."

"You saw Steven."

Ducky gave no response, but Gerald didn't need one. "It's alright. I'm proud of you for going to visit Tony, even knowing you'd have to face the memories."

"Tony isn't my son... I know perfectly well he isn't. His being in that tiny, bare room isn't my responsibility. Still, in that instant I could have sworn..."

"Tony's going to get well, Don, you have to believe that. Depression is a far cry from schizophrenia... and you didn't cause either one."

"So you continue to tell me. It's an old battle, love..."

"Old and ongoing."

"Yes, well, you're still no closer to winning me to your point of view."

"That doesn't mean I'm giving up."

"Thank God for that. I really don't know how I'd cope if you did. He told me he knows about us. Has for some time."

"And?"

"He's very pleased that we found each other and more than willing to be discreet, though he seems to think that discretion may be a moot point, at least among close friends and colleagues. According to Tony, anyone who took more than a cursory glance at you and I would have easily seen how deeply we're in love."

Gerald chuckled and stroked his lover's back tenderly.

"None of them had time for anything deeper than cursory. Your little trick with the stories is guaranteed to drive anyone but Gibbs or Jimmy back to wherever they came from. If they ever found out you only do it to get them to leave..."

"Yes, you're going to keep that to yourself, aren't you. I may be feeling two hundred years old tonight, but I believe I have enough energy to tickle you within inches of vomiting..."

"I don't doubt it. No need to demonstrate. How's Jethro holding up, by the way?"

"Giving his usual brilliant performance."

"He should know by now that anyone who really knows and cares about him doesn't buy it."

"He doesn't think anyone truly knows him. Or I should say that he *hopes* they don't."

"If nobody gets past his barriers he can't be hurt again... but nobody gets to love him either. That's really pretty sad."

"He and Tony are very alike that way. If only they could both just drop the walls, they'd see how much healing they could provide each other."

"You know it isn't that simple, love." Gerald countered gently, pulling his lover closer to him. "You're a perfect example."

"I did tell you about Steven."

"But it took you years. Even when you did finally let me see that pain, it came out in pieces, over the course of several days. That kind of secret hurts more when you let it go than it ever did holding it in."

"Yes... but at least Anthony now has Dennis Lewiston on his side, working to help him let go of the darkness he's been hoarding inside for so long. Jethro..."

Ducky's sentence trailed off as the buzzing doorbell interrupted him. Gerald persuaded his exhausted lover to stay on the couch and let him answer the summons. After gazing through the tiny security lens he opened the door with a rueful grin, finishing Ducky's thought and announcing their visitor all with just three words.

"Jethro has us. "

"Gerald. You're looking great." Gibbs greeted his old friend.

"Thanks. You aren't, though. C'mon in."

"I'm fine." The older man grunted as he stepped far enough in to allow Gerald to close the door again. A look was exchanged between the lovers that said 'Weren't we just talking about this?' and Ducky did his best to match Gerald's smile.

"Jethro, is something wrong? Is Tony alright?" Ducky asked.

"He's fine as far as I know."

"Then to what do we owe this visit?"

"I don't know. I didn't feel like getting drunk and falling asleep under the boat again, I guess. This was stupid... sorry, Duck. I'll go..."

"No, please don't." Ducky pleaded, rising to his feet only to find his weary legs trembling under him. Gerald rushed to his side and held him up.

"Time for bed, love."

"Yes... yes, I think so."

"Jethro, stay here, alright? I won't be long."

"Gerald..."

"Please. There's something you need to see. Trust me, you won't regret it."

Releasing a frustrated breath, Gibbs nodded and sank down into a chair. Within twenty minutes, Gerald returned. "This way. The elevator's over here."

"Elevator?"

"What I want to show you is in the basement."

Reluctantly, Gibbs rose and followed Gerald into the small cab and stoically endured the brief ride down to the lowest level of the house without making snide comments or insisting that he really should be at his own home, drowning in his usual method of stress relief.

Stepping out into darkness, Gibbs held his spot until Gerald turned on the lights. What was revealed confused Gibbs completely and he moved warily over to investigate and try to understand what he was seeing. Boxes, buckets and bags of ceramic items, from decorative figurines to chipped cups and saucers, lined the farther wall, and above them on hooks were a pair of heavy gloves and two sets of protective goggles. Turning, he looked down and found a line drawn across the cement floor in white paint and, perhaps thirty feet ahead of the line, a six foot high, four-foot wide cinderblock wall.

"What in the hell..."

"It started out as a way to help Don's mother, but all three of us have used it at some point." Gerald told him, choosing an item at random from one of the containers and handing it to Jethro. The young man then reached up, plucked the goggles from their hook, slipped a pair on Gibbs and donned the other himself.

"Now what?"

"Fling it."

"Come again?"

"Fling it. This is a place where you don't have to be strong or brave or whatever you think the outside world expects you to be. Down here... pissed and frustrated is a very good thing."

Gibbs stared at the coffee mug in his hand, then focused on the cinderblocks.

"You?"

"Don showed me all this when I stopped seeing progress in my PT a few months back. I was convinced my shoulder would never be a hundred percent and I was furious and in pain... so I came down here and started flinging Hummels and crockery with my good arm. Don stood right beside me, talking to me non-stop, until I felt like I'd gotten it all out."

Gibbs looked at the mug one more time, frowning and trying to justify breaking it just because he was frustrated. Gerald sensed his thought process and responded. "Don and I pick this stuff up at garage sales, yard sales and thrift shops for a quarter or fifty cents a piece. Fling it, Jethro. It helps... I swear, it helps."

After bouncing the mug lightly in his hand a couple of times, Gibbs finally gave in and sidearmed it into the cinderblock wall, grimacing as it exploded and scattered chiming shards across the floor. For a long moment, he merely studied the debris, unsure what to make of it, but eventually he looked back to the box nearest his hand then up to Gerald's calm face. "Go on. Choose another."

Gibbs did and that piece met the wall with less reluctance. "That's it. Take another one and do it again. Good! Again. Keep it up, Jethro. There you go! That's the way..."

The more items Jethro broke, the more rage and sorrow showed in his expression. As the mess piled up at the base of the wall, he even released a restrained scream or two and a few unbidden tears. An hour later, the basement ceramic collection was short fifteen pieces and Jethro was crouched close to the floor, curled into himself and panting faintly. Gerald knelt beside him, squeezing and rubbing his shoulder. "Better?"

"Hell, yes. Can I..."

"Anytime you need it. You don't even have to call. Day or night, just show up and one of us will be here for you."

"Thanks."

"No problem. No problem at all."

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FOLLOWING MORNING: BETHESDA

"Doctor Lewiston?"

Looking up the paperwork he was finishing up, Lewiston gazed at the young man standing in his doorway, struggling to determine where he'd seen him before.

"Yes? Can I help you?"

My name is Brad Pitt."

"Oh yes, infectious disease. I thought I knew your face. Please, come in and sit down."

"Thank you." Pitt said, taking him up on the offer and claiming one of the visitor's chairs on the other side of the desk.

"What can I do for you?"

"It's about Tony DiNozzo. I was the one who took care of him when he was here with pneumonic plague. I just found out he was back. I went to the medical service first, of course, thinking it could be a recurrence of lung problems. When they sent me up here... I couldn't believe it."

"It's good of you to worry about him."

"We didn't spend all that much time together, I admit, but he really impressed me. He tried to stay positive, even when he had to know his condition was becoming critical. How he pulled through I'll never understand..."

"Would you like to see him?"

"That would be great. Only if you think it wouldn't upset him."

"On the contrary, I think it would do him good. I was just about to go visit him myself. You're welcome to come along. As a matter of fact, you can do me a huge favor..."

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TBC......

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